Blog



August 15, 2018
Let's Ask Francine: How Do You Make Killed Lettuce and Onions?

Sweet TeaFrancine loves questions. She writes our Almost Monthly E-mail, which, as the name implies, goes out almost monthly. It starts out like a letter from your favorite aunt with a little update on whatever might be on her mind at the time. Then it goes into events in the stores, new products our buyers are particularly proud of, and community happenings that might just prompt you to plan a trip. Most every time the e-mail goes out, she gets a question or two. This week’s blog includes a couple that she thought might be interesting to share with everyone. Let's get to the questions and her answers.

August 8, 2018
Fall Trends Feature Denim & Bold Colors

Fashion Trends for Fall 2018Temperatures are moderating a bit after a blistering July. That’s a sure sign that fall is on the way, along with a new wave of fashion trends to embrace the new season. Checking the trends, we’ll see a continuation of some of summer’s general tendencies with a heavy dose of time travel. If you are thinking Back to the Future you’d be in the right decade. Here’s a look at what’s on the runway and what you’ll see featured on our creaking floors.

July 25, 2018
What's It Like at a Photo Shoot?

Ads Then and NowMast Store’s ads have changed over the years. From the text-only representations from the 1920s and 1940s to the image-rich digital and print advertisements you see today, they are still tasked with communicating a message and sharing our values. We’re going to pull back the curtain, just a little, to give you a glimpse of what happens at a photo shoot.

July 18, 2018
We're KEEN on That!

KEEN Footwear - A shoe for every adventureAccording to the MacMillan Dictionary, to be “keen” on something is to be interested in something and enjoying it, especially an activity that you do often. This year, we are keen on helping KEEN celebrate its 15th year of innovation and adventures. As a brand born to get people outdoors, KEEN started its journey by asking “Can a sandal also protect your toes?” In 2003, the answer was a resounding “yes,” and the KEEN Newport was born. Millions of adventures later, KEEN is taking its business to new heights with UNEEK options and an ever-expanding line of shoes to allow you to lead the hybrid life.

July 11, 2018
Celebrating Made in USA

Grand Old Flag SocksJuly seems like the perfect time to take a look at items made in the USA. Of course, there are many factors that are considered when adding new products to our shelves, but Mast Store’s buying directive is to look in the local and regional area first, then broaden to national and international sources. Right now, our product mix is 20% Made in the USA, including foods, candy, socks and footwear, home goods, and clothing.

June 27, 2018
A Look Back at Summers Past

Let's Find a BallgameYou should always take time out for a little fun, no matter what your age. As a result of a conversation just recently, it occurred to us that the definition of fun can change over time. What’s fun for a 10-year-old today might be considered some sort of punishment for a 10-year-old a generation or two back. This blog grew out of that conversation and a question that was asked on your blog writer’s Facebook page. We’re turning back the clock to see what was fun 30, 40, 50, and more years ago. It’s the memories of summer and those days when time moved so slowly we wished some of it away.

June 20, 2018
Spend the Night Under the Stars

Sleeping Under the StarsSo, when was the last time you spent the night under the stars? Can you remember roasting marshmallows and making s’mores? What about spinning ghost stories by the glow of the campfire? If it’s hard to remember, then we’d like for you to mark your calendars for the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Campout. Since 2005, the fourth Saturday in June has been celebrated with tents in backyards and a public campsites. Won’t you take the pledge?

June 6, 2018
Winkler Knives - Made in Boone, NC

Winkler KnivesMaster Bladesmith Daniel Winkler and his longtime partner/wife Sheath Maker Karen Shook own and operate Winkler Knives. Daniel Winkler has been making knives and axes since he was in high school and has evolved into one the nation’s top knife makers. His handiwork is in use by police, firefighters and special operations units across the world. They have been featured in movies, such as LAST OF THE MOHICANS, on television, and written about in numerous publications. Your first impression may be, now that’s an expensive knife, but let’s take a look at why.

May 30, 2018
Gear Up With Columbia PFG

Fishing in PFG gear from ColumbiaFew things in life hit their mark like the Columbia Performance Fishing Gear line. These things come about as close to perfect as you can get without actually catching the fish for you.

May 23, 2018
Land Trust Day is Set for June 2

This farm is in a land conservancy land trust.Mark Twain once said, “Buy land, they’re not making it any more.” It stands to reason, that if they’re not making it any more, then we should consider it rare and care for it as a collector’s item, making certain that it will be passed on to a new generation. In a nutshell, that’s what a land trust does, and why we should celebrate their efforts because we all benefit from them.

May 16, 2018
Add to Your Summer Reading List

Time to enjoy a good book. There’s nothing like enjoying a good book under a shade tree with a nice breeze blowing or on a warm sandy beach with the sound of waves crashing on the shoreline. Summer reading runs the gamut from bodice rippers and murder mysteries to non-fiction accounts of our times and classics from long ago. We asked our employees to share some of their recommendations to add to your summer reading list.

May 9, 2018
May is Sharing Our Shoes Month

Answer the S-O-S CallSpring cleaning is taking place in all Mast Store communities. Windows are being scrubbed; the carpet is getting cleaned; and the closets, well, if you haven’t worn it in a while, it’s probably time to say goodbye to it. Take a good look at your shoes. If they have some miles left in them, we can make it easy for you to put some smiles on some local faces.

May 2, 2018
Mast Store's Top 11 Gift Ideas for Mom

Happy Mother's Day!Mother’s Day is a little over a week away, so we know the stress of coming up with something special for your Mom is weighing on you. She is a hard one to find a gift for that’s just right. So, take a few cues from her – what does she like to do, where does she spend a lot of time, is there a gift you can give her to make something easier? Those are just a few of the questions you can ask to come up with the perfect gift, which Mom always taught you should be “thoughtful, useful, or heartfelt.” We think it’s best when they are all three. Here are a few ideas.

April 25, 2018
Get-Ready-for-Summer Checklist

The Big Bubble ThingWe are eagerly waiting for sun and fun! While the April showers mode continues, we’re actively putting together supplies for a summer filled with outings, laughter, and fun. Here’s a list of items with safety and protection at the forefront, so you can focus more on the fun part.

April 18, 2018
Mast Store Celebrates Earth Day Every Day

Plastic recyclingWhen the Earth Day movement started on April 22, 1970, no one knew exactly what was going to happen. Organizing protests and demonstrations relied mostly on word of mouth or passing out leaflets. The actions taken that day included teach-ins, where you could go to learn more about how everyday activities were impacting the planet, trash pick ups, and commuting using people power instead of cars. Listening to the raised voices at schools, on nature walks, and at public gatherings lead to laws and guidelines that cleared the air around Los Angeles of its infamous smog and cleaned up the Cuyahoga River from its days of burning because it was so polluted to an ecosystem that supports many wildlife species. To help do our part, the Mast Store is taking steps to reduce its impact on the earth.

April 11, 2018
What's In Style for Spring 2018

Levi'sWe believe the cold weather is mostly behind us now, so we can actively look ahead to freshening up our wardrobes with new colors, patterns, and designs. While you won’t see any of the extreme fashions that wandered down the runway in New York, you will see many of the trends that are inspired by cutting-edge designers.

April 4, 2018
Tips for Photographing Wildflowers

FleabanePoet Alice Oswald said about the season: "Spring, when the earth tilts closer to the sun, runs a strict timetable of flowers." As the earth is renewing itself, many of us are finding more time to spend outside. One of those is Heather, the Mast Store photographer. When she ventures out on hikes, she loves to capture wildflower beauty she encounters along the way. This week's blog features some of her tips to help improve your photography. 

March 21, 2018
Your Dog is Looking Forward to Spring, Too

Caesar and Cleo in the snowJust like you, your dog is eager for the coming of spring. He or she is dreaming of long walks and hiking adventures to discover new places and activities. They probably need to work their way up to that longer adventure, too. Let’s see what to do.

March 7, 2018
Planting by the Moon and by the Signs

An almanac is a great reference for planting.Whether or not you believe that your destiny is governed by the stars, you probably know which astrological sign you were born under, right? Astrology is just an amusement to most of us these days, but to our ancestors, natural astrology was important in predicting seasonal events and weather. Well-informed planters used the position of the sun, moon and the constellations to manage their livestock and crops.

February 28, 2018
Not Goodbye, but So Long to Waynesville's General Manager

Waynesville StaffIn a time when careers are measured in single-digit years, it’s truly something to celebrate when a manager of a retail store started on Day One and is leaving 27 years later. Days spent folding hundreds of sweaters are transcending to days gazing at high peaks in Montana and other places across the globe. No matter where Melanee ends up, it’s going to be just another day in paradise.

February 14, 2018
5 Ways to Escape the Winter Blues

Beating the Winter BluesBy now you’ve heard the news – the official weather prognosticating groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, emerged from his burrow and saw his shadow, thus, we’ll have six more weeks of winter. That could be the most depressing news you’ve heard in a while, especially if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. Longer nights, cold temperatures, and gray days all figure into a general feeling of sadness and depression. But, there are steps you can take to reduce its effects. Here are five ways to escape the winter blues.

February 4, 2018
Be a Sweetheart is Coming Up February 10 & 11

All locations of the Mast Store will be asking guests to Be a Sweetheart on February 10 and 11. On these two days, when you purchase your sweetheart’s favorite candy, we’ll match each pound with a $1 donation to our food security partners.

January 31, 2018
A Sweet Holiday is on the Horizon

The Candy Barrel is a feast for the eyes and tummyNext to Halloween, Valentine’s Day is probably the next sweetest day for candy. Americans have a penchant for candy. According to the US Census Bureau, more than 1,850 establishments manufactured chocolate and other confectionery products in 2014. From chocolate bars to licorice, the average American eats around 22 pounds of candy each year. But, do you know the story behind your favorite sweets?

January 24, 2018
Upcoming Events You Won't Want to Miss

The Polar Plunge at Blowing Rock WinterfestSometimes during the winter, you need an excuse or a gentle nudge to pull yourself away from the comfortable couch. We’ve come up with a few events happening in Mast Store communities that may be just the ticket for you.

January 17, 2018
Do Your Feet Hurt?

Do your feet hurt?Ask any builder. They will tell you how important it is to have a good foundation on which to build your house. That’s exactly what your feet are for the rest of your body, so it is important to make sure your foundation is as sturdy and healthy as it can be. Superfeet helps maintain healthy feet and may mitigate some maladies to make everyday life more enjoyable. Making your feet “super” is quite easy.

January 10, 2018
12 Steps to Staying Young at Heart

Stay young at heartYoung at heart is defined by Merriam-Webster as thinking and acting like young people; active and having lots of energy. To get an idea of how we can all stay young at heart, I interviewed several of my favorite people who are no longer in their 20s and 30s, but you certainly can’t tell it when you meet them or enjoy their company for a little while. Here’s what they shared.

January 3, 2018
Layering 101

LayeringIt’s winter, and we’re all ready for some outdoor, sub-freezing, fun. By now, you’ve probably been told that “layering” is the key to staying warm during winter activities, but what exactly does that mean? The simple answer has always been to dress in layers of clothing that you can easily add or take off as temperatures change but, actually, there is more to consider if you want to be truly comfortable in a wide range of weather conditions.

December 27, 2017
Here Comes the New Year

ANightBeforeChristmasOut with the old and in with the new – 2018 is just a few days away. Many celebrations are planned to bid farewell to 2017 and to embrace all that the New Year has to offer. The roots for some of the celebrations are as old as the hills, so to speak.

November 29, 2017
A Mast Store Gift Guide

This is the time of year when you hope you have lots of scrap paper handy. Adding names, making notes, scratching out other notes, drawing lines to link thoughts – sometimes your gift list can get confusing! Mast Store hopes to help alleviate some of that confusion with this gift guide to at least get you started. It is broken out into different areas of the store to showcase some of the items we think would be appreciated by your lucky recipient.

November 24, 2017
November 25 is Small Business Saturday

ANightBeforeChristmasSince 2010, the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been recognized as Small Business Saturday. American Express recognized the impact that small businesses have on the economy, towns, and on our individual lives. By shining a light on the businesses we frequent every day and helping us see them in a whole new light, American Express and many neighborhood and municipal advocates are making Small Business Saturday a day of discovery and rediscovery.

 

Supporting other small businesses is in the ethos of Mast Store. So, in celebration of Small Business Saturday, we’re showcasing some of our favorite small businesses that you’ll find in most every Mast Store.

November 16, 2017
Holiday Festivities are Starting Now

ANightBeforeChristmasIt’s hard to believe that it’s time to begin thinking about serving up the turkey and trimming the tree, but it is. Holiday celebrations begin this weekend. We’ve pulled together a quick list of parades in each of our communities along with other events you and your family may want to put on your holiday itinerary. Let’s get started.

November 8, 2017
Share the Warmth with Mast Store and Columbia

STW KidThere’s a decided chill to the temperatures, so Winter is just around the corner. Mast Store is helping Share the Warmth in all its communities by holding a coat collection now through November 30. Columbia Sportswear, Mast Store’s vendor partner, is making a donation of new coats, jackets, and fleeces to keep the chill away, too.

November 8, 2017
Fall Foliage Primer - November 8, 2017

FFP-Header-Week7Week 7 is the last reporting week for this year's Fall Foliage Primer. As we close the books on the fall color season, Knoxville is just now hitting its peak, as is Greenville. They will enjoy color for a little while longer. Asheville, Waynesville, and Hendersonville are a little past their high color line. There are some pockets of color that will sneak up on you. The Valle Crucis and Boone area are at the beginning of stick season, but that isn't stopping some of the oaks from showing off their true colors. Check the report for some ideas on scenic drives and fun events. Remember, November 11 is Veterans Day.

November 1, 2017
Fall Foliage Primer - November 1, 2017

It's Week 6 of the Fall Foliage Primer, and peak colors are in our sights in Waynesville, Asheville, and Hendersonville. We're betting that Greenville and Knoxville are getting ready to hit the mark in just a little bit. The Boone and Valle Crucis area has passed its peak color, but there are splashes here and there that are surprising. In all areas, the hiking and views are great this time of year and there are bazaars and other events that warrant a visit. Read on...

October 25, 2017
Merrell Food for Kids is October 25 - November 7

KidIf you could do one thing that would help a child do better in school, have a better outlook on life, and be better able to fight disease, would you do it? Having enough to eat helps with all three of those situations and more. That’s why Mast Store, Merrell Footwear, and food security agencies in Mast Store's home communities are partnering again from October 25-November 7 to provide Food for Kids.

October 25, 2017
Fall Foliage Primer - October 25, 2017

FFPHeaderWeek 5 of the Fall Foliage Primer is seeing more color in all locations. Yep, hard to believe! Asheville, Waynesville, and Hendersonville are stretching to reach peak color in the near term.  The Boone and Valle Crucis areas have some substantial leaf loss, but reds, oranges, and yellows are still popping up and are pretty prominent (particularly in the lower elevations). Greenville and Knoxville are still waiting for lots of color, but it is appearing slowly. All areas have lots of fun events in store including ghost walks, pumpkin carving, and beautiful hikes.

October 18, 2017
Fall Foliage Primer - October 18, 2017

FFP-Header-Week4Week four is filled with special events, festivals, and fall color. Asheville, Waynesville, and Hendersonville are stretching toward their peak color, while Knoxville and Greenville are still a ways off.  In Valle Crucis and Boone, the color is here and there, with some spots being past peak and others still waiting to begin their final act. Overall, the weather for being outside and enjoying whatever is around the bend is going to be just about perfect everywhere!

October 18, 2017
Putting Your Garden to Bed

Iris_Gift_Nature.jpgA good cleanup in the fall is well worth your while for a healthy, vital garden next spring. Get started by pulling up vegetable plants such as tomatoes, squashes, peas, and beans. Compost the disease-free ones; put sickly or blighted ones on the burn pile or discard away from the garden. Pull up and put away garden stakes and tomato cages.  Don’t forget to clean up dead or declining annuals... and remember marigolds, calendulas and zinnias are easy to grow next year, from the seeds you save.

October 11, 2017
Fall Foliage Primer - October 11, 2017

HeaderWeek3Week three of the primer is seeing a lot more color appearing in the higher and middle elevations. In some reporting locations, the color change really sped up over the weekend. This week is filled with festivals and special events to truly get out and take part in the color change.

October 4, 2017
Fall Foliage Primer - October 4, 2017

HeaderCollageWeek two of the Fall Foliage Primer is here, but a lot more color is not. Higher elevations around Graveyard Fields or Grandfather Mountain have more color, but in general we are seeing some reds and yellows hanging around with the getting-ready-to-get-started greens. While the leaves an event in themselves, there are many more happenings in our communities that our reporters hope to help you discover.

October 4, 2017
Made in NC

OurStateMadeinNC5.jpgWhen Our State magazine started looking for a partner for its 2017 Made in NC contest, Mast General Store seemed like a natural fit. “They believe in many of the same things we do,” said Lisa Cooper, president of Mast General Store.

September 27, 2017
Fall Foliage Primer - September 27, 2017

FFPHeader-Week1-20170927.jpgIt's the first report of the fall foliage season. As is to be expected, the most prevalent color is green, but in all reporting areas there is some fall color beginning to show itself. It might be in the blooming of goldenrod and asters or it might be in the sourwoods and dogwoods beginning to show their true colors. Read the full report to get ideas on activites to enjoy during your visit.

September 20, 2017
Let's Ask Francine

Cornbread.jpgIf you subscribe to Mast Store’s Almost Monthly E-mail, you are well acquainted with Francine. She’s corresponded with folks for more than 16 years – almost since the invention of e-mail. Her fans have shared many accomplishments, concerns, and questions over the years. In this week’s blog, Francine answers some questions from her website “Ask Francine” opportunity. Let’s see what she has to say.

September 13, 2017
Please Take Your Seats – The Show is About to Begin

PriceLakeLeaves3.jpg

Perhaps a better directive would be “please begin planning your itineraries and booking your reservations; the show is about to begin.” As the calendar continues its march to the fall equinox, the anticipation of the changing of the leaves builds.

Will this be a good fall color season? How will the recent hurricane affect the leaves? Just what happens to make the leaves change anyway? The answers to these questions will vary depending upon who you ask, where you live, and the types of trees in the general area. To get a better handle on an answer that is applicable for the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, we contacted Dr. Howard Neufeld at Appalachian State University.

September 4, 2017
Friends' Day Is September 9 and Supports the MST

cover.jpgSaturday, September 9, 2017 is Friends’ Day at Mast General Store. On that day Mast General Store will donate 10% of proceeds from the day’s sales to support local partners. For all of the North Carolina stores the recipient of that support is the Mountains To Sea Trail.

August 24, 2017
Trending for Fall

True GritThe calendar may say summer, but fall is the word of the day. New arrivals for the upcoming season are arriving daily. As trends do, everything old is new again. Many of this fall’s fashion trends are remakes of styles from a not-too-distant past. Mast Store’s fashion sense tends to embrace the classics because you can never go wrong there. But you will see some of the trends represented in our fashion and footwear departments. Let’s have a look.

August 15, 2017
Check Off Your Summer Bucket List

TheMoon.jpgIt’s hard to believe it’s already August, and everyone is talking about back-to-school plans. Even so, there’s still time to check off a few more items on your summer bucket list. Just in case you’ve already completed yours, we have a few suggestions for you to consider adding.

August 8, 2017
There's Going to Be an Eclipse - August 21, 2017

Eclipse2The most anticipated event of the century is happening on Monday, August 21. For the first time in almost a century, a total eclipse of the sun will sweep across the United States from the coast of Oregon to the coast of South Carolina. Astronomers and serial eclipsers are heading to the Path of Totality, a 70-mile wide band where the moon’s shadow will totally block the sun.

August 2, 2017
It's Back-to-School Time and You Can Help

Classroom.jpgYou remember the good ol’ days. As the countdown to the first day of school started, you’d go to the mailbox to see who your homeroom teacher was going to be. Then, the phone lines would light up with  calls from your friends to see if you were in their classes.

July 26, 2017
Enjoying Garden Goodness

VeggiesThe time we’ve been anticipating since winter, really, is finally here. Our gardens that were eagerly planned when snow was on the ground are giving us gifts on a daily basis. Squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, … the list could go on and on. You’ve planned meals using the bounty until you’ve run out of ideas. Well, we have a few more.

July 19, 2017
Summer's #1 Treat

ice_cream_0864_web.jpgIf you had to guess what the top indulgence is for the summer months, we bet that you’d get it without extra guesses. That’s right, ice cream! In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day, which should be observed with all appropriate ceremonies and activities.

June 28, 2017
Celebrating Made in America

america-main.jpgThe rumor on the street is that nothing is made in the USA any longer. In actuality, there is still a lot of manufacturing happening within the states. It accounts for about 36% of the nation’s gross national product, according to an article in MarketWatch from 2016. Manufacturing in some quarters is on the upswing, particularly if the product is highly regulated or requires specialized training to produce.

June 21, 2017
Burt's Bees - Life Lessons from the Bee Man

burts-bees-i.jpgIn the summer of 1984, Maine artist Roxanne Quimby, was trying to thumb a ride home. Eventually, a bright yellow Datsun pickup truck pulled over, and Roxanne instantly recognized Burt Shavitz, a local fellow whose beard was almost as well-known as his roadside honey stand. Burt and Roxanne hit it off. Before long, Roxanne was making candles in his 8-x-8 turkey coop with unused wax from Burt's beehives. They made $200 at their first craft fair; within a year, they'd make $20,000. It was a pretty fantastic beginning, but it was just the beginning all the same.

June 13, 2017
Chasing the Catawba Rhododendron in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Mid to late June ushers in one of the most celebrated months in the Blue Ridge Mountains: the Catawba Rhododendron blooming season. The bees buzz with delight, drinking in the flower’s nutritious nectar. The famed rhododendron’s splashes of hot pink create a stunning landscape against a backdrop of mountainsides draped in early summer green. 

June 6, 2017
Vital Travel Tip: Always Pack a Carry-On Bag

osprey-day-pack.jpgThroughout the months of May and June, the traditional beginning of travel season, we're sharing travel stories from our employees along with travel tips and tricks learned along the way. This week, our Mast Store webmaster shares vital tips for smart travelers.

May 30, 2017
Celebrate Land Trust Day 2017

lt1.jpgLand Trust Day at Mast Store is celebrating its fifteenth year on Saturday, June 3rd. We are honored to host this friend-raising day for the land trust organizations in each of our communities to visit with our guests, educate people on what land trusts do, and to garner support both in our local communities and in the home communities of our visitors.

May 23, 2017
Don't Suffer from Travel Paralysis

sheri-travel-1a.jpgThroughout the month of May, the traditional beginning of travel season, we're sharing travel stories from our employees along with travel tips and tricks learned along the way. This week, we’re talking about overcoming travel paralysis.

May 23, 2017
Bagpipes & Roadrunners in Arizona with Fox

arizona1.jpgThroughout the month of May, the traditional beginning of travel season, we're sharing travel stories from our employees along with travel tips and tricks learned along the way. This week, we’re exploring the Great American Desert with Fox.

May 22, 2017
Answer the S.O.S Call – Sharing Our Shoes

sharing-our-shoes-2016.jpgMast General Store is sending out an S.O.S. in the form of a shoe drive, Sharing Our Shoes.  During the month of May, Mast encourages the community to search their closets for shoes they no longer need and to drop them off at the store nearest you.   The collection drive runs through May 31st, but many locations accept donations all year.

May 17, 2017
Travel Smart With These Eco Friendly Tips

ecotransport-1.jpgAs we continue celebrating travel season throughout the month of May, we’re thinking about creative and earth-friendly approaches to transportation: cycling, walking, and carpooling. You’ll also find some helpful tips on how to become a more eco-friendly driver.

May 10, 2017
Exploring the United Kingdom with Elizabeth

elizabeth-uk-hostel-1.jpgThis May, the traditional beginning of travel season, we're sharing travel stories from our employees along with travel tips and tricks learned along the way. Last week, we explored a variety of traveling tips with Deb. This week, we’re learning about the many benefits of hostelling with Elizabeth.

May 3, 2017
Expert Tips to Kick Off Travel Season

travel-tips-main.jpgLast August, Mast Store's blogs featured our employees' stories about their favorite visit to a National Park in celebration of the National Park Service Centennial. This May, the traditional beginning of travel season, we're sharing travel stories from our employees along with travel tips and tricks learned along the way. Please join us!

April 26, 2017
Farmers' Market Season Is Here

farmers-market-alaina-drawdy-cox-2.jpgWe’re giddy with excitement that the 2017 farmers’ market season is open! There’s no better place to meet the hardworking folks who grow and harvest our region’s delicious bounty. Enjoy tastings, live music, and connect with new and old friends along the way. This week's blog features a few of our favorite farmers’ markets across our Mast Store communities and a few tips for when you decide to visit.

April 19, 2017
Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

earth-main-2.jpgAs the famous philosopher, Voltaire, said, “no snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible,” yet where would the avalanche be without each snowflake?  From picking up litter in your neighborhood to making the switch to reusable shopping bags, these seemingly small habits can combine to have a powerful effect. With Earth Day coming up on Saturday, April 22nd, we’re thinking about changes we can make to reduce our impact on the environment. Earth Day is the perfect time to form a new habit. 

April 13, 2017
Spring Happenings in our Mast Store Communities

easter-main.jpgThe beauty of spring is cascading from South Carolina’s midlands to the mountains of Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee. We’re excited to go outside, soak in the sunshine, and enjoy the glorious new blooms! 

April 3, 2017
The Sherpa Standard: All things, in all ways, are tied together.

sherpa-main.jpgOn Friday, March 31st, the Mast Store in Asheville hosted a special event with Sherpa Adventure Gear, celebrating Nepalese food, culture, and the history of the Sherpa people.

March 29, 2017
Spring Crafting with Kids

craft-4.jpg
Welcome the new season by enjoying some fun and simple craft projects with the children in your life.  From rainsticks and tissue paper trees to racing rainbows and string Easter eggs, these ideas are festive and easy for every member of your family.

March 15, 2017
Creating a Container Garden for Vegetables, Herbs, and Flowers

Container gardening has rapidly gained in popularity over the past decade. Not only is it more convenient for smaller dwellings, but containers make it easier for you to control water, soil, sun exposure, and fertilizer. but containers make it easier for you to control water, soil, sun exposure, and fertilizer.

March 8, 2017
Growing Your First Vegetable Garden

garden-2.jpgHave you always wanted to grow your own vegetables, but didn’t know how to get started? Now is the time to start planning your garden, so you can yield a bountiful summer harvest. Below, we offer a simple list to help make your first garden a successful (and delicious) one!

February 22, 2017
Leave No Trace Principles Made Easy for Kids

2-LNT-2.jpgLast week we learned about the seven basic principles of Leave No Trace (LNT). Familiarize yourself with the LNT essentials by clicking visiting last week's blog entry. This week, we’re exploring easy ways to share these important guidelines with the children in your life. Let’s get started.

February 15, 2017
Leave No Trace Made Easy

1-LNT-6.jpgIf you’ve been to a Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts meeting, attended a wilderness summer camp, or participated in the Great American Backyard Campout, you may already be familiar with the principles of Leave No Trace (LNT). These valuable principles aren’t just useful in the woods, they can be applied in every environment. This week, we’re exploring Leave No Trace so our collective small steps can lead to big changes in the natural world (and in ourselves)!

February 6, 2017
Be a Sweetheart in the High Country on February 11 and 12

sweetheart_ltrposter-2017-hunger-health-web.jpg

On Valentine’s Day, we all want to do something thoughtful for our sweethearts. Why not double up and help someone you don’t even know have a hot, nourishing meal? It’s so easy!

This is the 14th year for Be a Sweetheart. The event was founded in 2004 when a need to fill their pantries was communicated by our food security partners. In the beginning, Mast Store matched each pound of candy purchased with our own pound of food. Then, because of the ability of our food banks and food rescue partners to stretch a dollar into more, Mast Store began donating $1 for each pound purchased. It was a natural tie-in to link Valentine’s Day, when many of us do something nice for someone we love, to supporting efforts to feed a desperate need in our communities.

February 1, 2017
Enjoying the Mountains in Winter

Winter is gradually making its grand appearance with sinking temperatures and driving snow. After the wintry mix is plowed and the wind abates, it’s time to head outside for some wintertime exploration. The detail, clarity, and focus across multiple mountain ranges are most spectacular in the deep of winter. Closer views are just as thrilling because the bare trees reveal details on the landscape that are easy to miss when blocked by rich foliage.

January 25, 2017
Winter Layering Tips - Part Two

2-layer-MAIN.jpgLast week, we explored the basics of layering to help you stay warm and dry in winter weather. This is the most important place to start because a warm core sends blood to the rest of your body and helps keep your extremities warmer, too. This week, we offer a few tried and true tips for pant layers in addition to ways to protect your neck, face, fingers, and feet.

January 18, 2017
Layering Tips for Wintry Adventures

layering-main.jpgWhen it comes to winter sports like snowshoeing, hiking, skiing, and sledding, layering up is the best way to comfortably enjoy your favorite cold weather activities. Used to maximize comfort, this simple concept is easy to apply when you understand how it works.

January 11, 2017
Ideas for Enjoying Snow Days

snow-days-main.jpgWith another unseasonably mild holiday season behind us, folks in the southeast were very excited to wake up to 6 to 10 inches of fresh fallen snow the first full weekend of the New Year. If your family is anything like mine, we were totally unprepared for the powdery goodness. (My husband chalks it up to wearing shorts from March straight through December in 2016.) Below, you’ll find a few ideas for how to make the most of your next snow day. Our fingers are crossed that we have quite a few more in store this winter…

December 27, 2016
Resolve to Make 2017 a Year of Giving

giving-main-3.jpgThere’s that moment each year after all of the gifts are unwrapped and the last of our Christmas dinner leftovers have been put away that I find myself alone in our living room. “The children are nestled all snug in their beds,” the multi-colored tree lights bounce off the hardwood floor in a cheerful rainbow, and I’m flanked by a snoozing dog and cat, thinking to myself, “Is Christmas over already?” Within days, I’m preparing for the new year and am faced with a new set of questions: “What will 2017 look like?” “How and where will I invest my time in the New Year?”

December 19, 2016
Gift Giving Made Easy with Fun Themes

cmas-gifts-main.jpgDo you ever find yourself stumped when selecting thoughtful gifts to give your loved ones during the holiday season? This year, we’ve compiled a list of gift themes to please a variety of folks in your life. We hope this guide will help make your gift selecting (and your recipient’s receiving) a little more creative and a lot more fun.

December 14, 2016
Simple & Delicious Holiday Appetizer Recipes

cmas-recipe-main.jpgThis past weekend, dear friends of ours invited us to a “12 Appetizers of Christmas” party. Each of the families that were invited brought an appetizer to share. Guests brought sweet and savory dishes that made for a delicious and very celebratory feast. Below, you’ll find a few simple recipes from our Mast Store family that you might want to share at your next family gathering or party with friends this holiday season.

December 7, 2016
Fun & Easy Holiday Crafts with Kids

hoilday-kid-craft-1.jpgYour child’s winter break from school will be here before you know it. This break from often an overfilled schedule provides ample opportunity to enjoy working on creative projects together. One of my family’s favorite holiday traditions is making holiday decorations (that we’ll pull out and enjoy year after year) and crafting sweet homemade gifts for friends and family. Below you’ll find a few ideas that are easy for even the youngest artists. Plus, these crafts are so simple that you’ll probably have most of the materials you need already in your home!

December 1, 2016
Choose & Cut Your Own Christmas Tree This Year

tree-1.jpgThinking about the many Christmas trees I’ve enjoyed throughout the years brings up a host of sweet memories: The earliest trees of my childhood included brass clip-on candle holders. We lit the candles on the tree each evening (my parents were very brave). This tradition was passed down through the generations from our Swedish ancestors. There was the year our newly acquired stray cat took the entire tree down only a half hour after it was fully decorated…

November 21, 2016
Get a Head Start on Holiday Happenings

cmas-16-header.jpgThere’s so much to enjoy in each of our Mast Store communities this holiday season. Many of our favorite events have already begun or kick off right after Thanksgiving. Below are just a few offerings that your family may want to add to your holiday schedule. Consider trying something new this year and it just might become a holiday tradition!

November 9, 2016
Columbia Helps Us Share the Warmth

share-the-warmth-2016.jpgAs we scurry about enjoying the cool days of fall, we all know that colder temperatures are on the way, and many of us are ready to face whatever weather the coming season has to offer. Unfortunately, there are some in our communities who aren’t as prepared. The Mast General Store is partnering with Columbia Sportswear for this year's annual Share the Warmth coat, sweater and blanket collection campaign from now until November 30th.

November 9, 2016
Fall Foliage Primer - November 9, 2016

Header-Week7-20161109.jpgThis is seventh week of the Fall Foliage Primer. Color is high in Greenville and there's more color in Knoxville than what you'd think. The reporters have put together lots of recommendations both for this week and in the near future weeks. They also bid you farewell until next year.

November 2, 2016
Fall Foliage Primer - November 2, 2016

FFPHeader-Week6-20161102.jpgIt's week 6 of the Fall Foliage Primer. The colors are hitting their peak in Hendersonville and are still on the uphill climb in Greenville. Other areas are past peak, BUT with the warm temperatures a lot of color still remains. It is amazing! The weekend will feature some moderating temperatures getting at least down to the seasonal level. Hikes, paddles, and scenic drives abound. See what's in store with a quick click.

October 26, 2016
Fall Foliage Primer - October 26, 2016

FFPHeader-Week5-20161026.jpgWeek five of the Fall Foliage Primer still has stunning color in just about every reporting area in North Carolina and South Carolina. That's truly amazing! The highest elevations have reached their peak and are shedding their leaves, which leads to fabulous long-range views. Asheville, Waynesville, and Hendersonville are taking on color and a drive along the Parkway to see what's in front of you and down in the valleys is well worth the time. Greenville and Knoxville are beginning to see more color changes. The weather is going to be GREAT this weekend, so get ready to get outside.

October 24, 2016
Merrell Footwear Supports Food for Kids 2016 in the High Country

FFK-2016-BANNER.jpgIf you could do one thing that would improve a child’s self-esteem, help facilitate better behavior, and increase his or her learning potential, wouldn’t you do it? It’s easy. Just make sure that the child is not hungry. According to Feeding America, 1 in 6 children in the U.S. worry about when they’ll have their next meal.

October 19, 2016
Fall Foliage Primer - October 19, 2016

FFPHeader-Week4-20161019.jpgWeek four of the Fall Foliage Primer has lots of color in the North Carolina mountains and a smidgen more beginning to appear in the Greenville, SC area. The weather has been unseasonably warm, but this weekend all areas will have decidedly fallish temperatures, which will further hasten the color change. There are still lots of fall events to enjoy and hikes to be experienced. See what our reporters recommend this week.

October 17, 2016
Merrell Footwear Supports Food for Kids 2016

FFK-2016-BANNER.jpgIf you could do one thing that would improve a child’s self-esteem, help facilitate better behavior, and increase his or her learning potential, wouldn’t you do it? It’s easy. Just make sure that the child is not hungry. According to Feeding America, 1 in 6 children in the U.S. worry about when they’ll have their next meal.

October 12, 2016
Fire Prevention Week & Valle Love

fire-5.jpgDid you know that October 9th through 15th is Fire Prevention Week? This week, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) is educating the public about basic, but essential elements of smoke alarm safety. Their theme for 2016 is “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.” Below you’ll find valuable information about checking your smoke alarms, fire safety preparedness for your family, and information about the upcoming Valle Love event in honor of our friends affected by the Valle Landing Fire.

October 12, 2016
Fall Foliage Primer - October 12, 2016

Header-Week3-20161012.jpgHere we are at the third week of October and more color is beginning to show, but we still have not had a frost. Some areas have had temperatures that dipped down into the 30s, which will get the fall color engine going. This weekend is a great weekend for those looking for Fairs, Festivals, Music, and Arts & Crafts with large festivals happening in all reporting communities. Get out and enjoy!

October 5, 2016
Fall Foliage Primer - October 5, 2016

HeaderSecondWeek20161005.jpgThe second week of the 2016 Fall Foliage Primer has lots of green prevalent in all reporting areas. But that isn't stopping the colorful fall events to be enjoyed. Reporters have suggested several hikes along the Parkway, a waterfall tour near Hendersonville, and an Albino Skunk Festival. Take a look inside for more details and photos.

October 5, 2016
Stanley – Loved By Generations

stanley.jpgThough it’s made great strides in mass appeal over the past decade, the vacuum steel bottle is not a new product. Well over 100 years ago, a Massachusetts man, William Stanley, invented this ingenious bottle. With over 100 patents to his name, Stanley was a major inventor during the golden age of electric development. Thanks to this prolific engineer, we have the pleasure of enjoying our cold drinks staying cold and our hot beverages remaining piping hot due to Stanley’s ingenious all-steel vacuum bottles.

September 28, 2016
Upcoming Fall Events in Area State & National Parks

AVL-FFP-1-Sep-27-a.jpgThe Indian Summer we’ve been experiencing in the southeast is slowly coming to an end. As we continue to celebrate this Centennial Year of the National Parks, we offer a few suggestions for fall events for the whole family in these beautiful places. Our State and National Parks offer much to enjoy and explore the first weekend in October.

September 28, 2016
Fall Foliage Primer - September 28, 2016

FirstWeekHeader.jpgThis is the first report for the 2016 Fall Foliage Primer. All reporting locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee are reporting spotty color. It's still early, but some moderating and more seasonal temperatures will help begin the journey. Several events of note this week included Tweetsie's Ghost Train, an App State football game, Art in the Park in Asheville, the Pumpkin Patch Express near Waynesville, Art on Main in Hendersonville, and OktoberFest in Greenville.Of course, there are many opportunities for hiking and exploring everywhere!

September 21, 2016
Easy Fall Crafts with Kids

a-fall-crafts-5.JPGSummer is slowly giving way to fall, and as the days grow shorter and the weather begins to change, my family enjoys creating homemade decorations to welcome the new season. Each year, we pull out our daughters’ fall-themed creations to decorate the house. The girls love seeing what they’ve made in years past and we all look forward to our tradition of adding a few new decorations to our collection. Here are a few ideas to get you started with your own autumn crafting tradition:

September 8, 2016
Join Us For Friends' Day with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation

Friends-Day-BRPF-1.JPGThe Beatles refrain is true, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” On Saturday, September 10, the Mast Store will be hosting Friends in each of its home communities that have the awesome responsibility of taking care of resources that locals and visitors enjoy every day. At the end of the day, each of our store locations will donate 10% of the day’s sales to support our local conservation partners.

September 4, 2016
Friends' Day is September 10

friends-day-smokies-2.jpgThe Beatles refrain is true, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” On Saturday, September 10, the Mast Store will be hosting Friends in each of its home communities that have the awesome responsibility of taking care of resources that locals and visitors enjoy every day. At the end of the day, each of our store locations will donate 10% of the day’s sales to support our local conservation partners.

August 31, 2016
NPS Centennial: Fun for the Whole Family at Connemara

connemara-alaina-1.jpgMy first visit to Connemara was a breezy, blue-skied, late summer day last year. This unique and beautiful National Park offers an astonishing array of activities to enjoy: The opportunity to explore the home of a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, the sweet splendor of a laze-about in open fields with a herd of milking goats, and a gentle trail to Big Glassy with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Though I’ve enjoyed a wide variety of National Parks over the years, Connemara has easily become a favorite for its diverse offerings that every member of my family will enjoy.

August 30, 2016
NPS Centennial: Snowy Adventure on the Appalachian Trail

GSMNP-2-Scott-1.jpgWe had entered the park under clouds and wet, frozen fog. My partner, Turbo, and I left Cosby Knob Shelter around 9:30 a.m., which not exactly an alpine start, and set off into the chilly damp. As we gained in elevation, the snow got deeper and made for slow going. Often, we would fall through the crunchy top layer and sink into deeper soft snow beneath. Then things got interesting…

August 29, 2016
NPS Centennial: Black Bear Encounters in Shenandoah

shenandoah-2-mary-3.jpgAfter my husband and I retired from our careers, we lived full time in our RV for two and a half years. During that time, we traveled around the country working in different campgrounds. We worked several summers in Shenandoah National Park as campground hosts for the National Park Service.

August 28, 2016
NPS Centennial: Discovering Desert Beauty in Zion

Zion-Deb-3b.jpgThe desert offers both magical and mystical beauty. When I’m still, I can see the changes in the color of the landscape, and discover nature I didn’t see at first glance. As I see these things, I hear the desert calling me.

August 26, 2016
NPS Centennial: Amazing Beauty Close to Home at Mammoth Cave

Mammoth-Cave-Tamera-1.jpgThe first field trip went on was in first grade to Tuckaleechee Caverns in Townsend, Tennessee. This trip was the first time I became fascinated by caves and bats. Once I learned about Mammoth Cave from the weekly reader during elementary school, I made a plan to someday visit there. It was interesting to me to know the largest cave system on the planet was less than 200 miles from home. Experts have explored 400 miles of Mammoth Cave, but there’s still much more to explore.  After a little research, I put the cave at the top of my to-do list.

August 25, 2016
NPS Centennial: Island Adventures in St. John

Jody-BVI-5.jpgI honestly cannot say what would be my favorite National Park because they’re all wonderfully diverse treasures. I had the unique experience of living on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. John. Did you know that more than half of this stunning island is part of the Virgin Islands National Park?

August 24, 2016
NPS Centennial: Making Family Memories Out West

Yellowstone-Amy-1.jpgI’ve long been a fan of America’s National Parks. This probably began the summer I worked in Yellowstone while I was a college student.  At 21-years-old, visiting Yellowstone was a life altering-experience.  Although I’ve visited quite a few national parks, Yellowstone has remained my favorite.

August 22, 2016
NPS Centennial: Getting a Bird's Eye View From Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie-Heather-1.jpegIn late September 2013, I visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  One of the highlights of the trip was a stop at Bodie Lighthouse on the Oregon Inlet in Nags Head, NC.  It had recently undergone major renovations that finished at the end of March 2013.  Luckily for me, it was now open for the public to explore the interior of the lighthouse!

August 21, 2016
NPS Centennial: Running with the Wolves in Yellowstone

Western-NPS-Tour-2-Gina-1.jpgWhen I was a junior in the biology department at Appalachian State University, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel cross-country throughout the United States, into Mexico and Canada, visiting many state and national parks. Our studies focused on the fauna and flora throughout the U.S. We traveled for 7 weeks.

August 19, 2016
NPS Centennial: Paddling & Birding on the Congaree River

Congaree-Joey-1a.jpgGrowing up in Columbia, South Carolina, I’ve had this somewhat overlooked gem in my backyard my whole life.  My dad loves bird watching, so, as a child, I got to go to the Congaree National Park about four times a year for the seasonal bird counts.

August 17, 2016
NPS Centennial: Exploring the Great Smokies in Tennessee

GSMNP-Chris-4.jpgI always like to visit the Great Smoky Mountain National Park because it is the most bio-diverse park in the NPS.  With everything from huge, exposed balds and ridge lines to dark and wet coves, the Smokies have it all.  They have just over 800 miles of trails that can give you whatever you want to see while in the woods.  I have been trying to knock out every trail in the Park since I was in college, and I am up to just over 600 miles complete…and don’t want it to end!  For that reason, every trip to the Smokies is my favorite trip.

August 16, 2016
NPS Centennial: The Grand Canyon, an Ethereal Visit

GC-1.jpgZephyr-roughened and patinaed cliffs began to narrow all around.  I watched for the indications of our journey’s end, read where we were in the encyclopedic rocks in my enfeebled way.  Past the friable Tapeats Sandstone, fascinating Vishnu Schist was yards First time reactions differ.  The Grand Canyon.  One of the World’s Wonders.  Stillness pervades my whole self.

August 15, 2016
NPS Centennial: Bikecentennial '76 Memories

Grand-Teton-Chafin-1.jpegI participated in the Bikecentennial ‘76.  This landmark event consisted of a series of bicycle tours on the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail across the United States in the summer of 1976 in commemoration of the bicentennial of America's Declaration of Independence. Best of all, I was able to enjoy several national parks from the comfort of my bicycle.

August 14, 2016
NPS Centennial: Wildlife Encounters in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rockies-Renea-2.jpg“Whoa, what is that?” I screamed with excitement. “It’s an elk,” my friend Cathy responded.  I had never seen such a creature.  It was amazing, and what made it even more amazing was the beautiful alpine tundra on which the elk and its counterparts were standing.  We had made it…Rocky Mountain National Park. This place was not like anything I had ever seen or experienced before.

August 12, 2016
NPS Centennial: Honeymooning in Glacier National Park

Glacier-Travis-2a.jpgThis summer, my wife and I drove 2,210 miles to Glacier National Park in Montana for our honeymoon.  We chose Glacier because we had a friend in Bozeman, Montana that told us about her experience there. After we did some research, we decided that traveling to Glacier National Park would be out perfect honeymoon destination.

August 10, 2016
NPS Centennial: All Things Beautiful and Blueberry in Maine

Acadia Laura 3My husband and I recently went to Acadia National Park for our 5th wedding anniversary. It was the best trip we’ve ever taken. Spectacular views, warm sun, cool breeze, and flowers in abundance… It couldn’t have been more perfect!

August 8, 2016
NPS Centennial: Endless Exploration on the Blue Ridge Parkway

BRP-2-Fox-1.jpgMy favorite National Park is the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s wonderful to be able to experience it by car for as little or as long as you'd like. You can take a short drive to refresh your mind when you've got just an hour, or you could spend entire weeks driving and stopping at all the overlooks and park attractions. 

August 7, 2016
NPS Centennial: Treasures Abound at Cape Lookout National Seashore

Cape-Lookout-Sheri-4.jpgCape Lookout National Seashore includes a Visitor Center on the Mainland at Harker’s Island, North Carolina, as well as Shackleford Banks and North and South Core Banks. You can reach the Cape Lookout Lighthouse and Shackleford by ferry (from Beaufort or Harker’s Island), or if you are adventurous, by paddling out on a kayak.

August 5, 2016
NPS Centennial: American Pride at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Liberty-JD-header.jpgThe first time I viewed the Statue of Liberty, I was sailing into New York harbor on my way to Montauk, NY. That was nearly three decades ago. We slipped beneath the Verrazano Bridge and there she was. I was awestruck. The next occasion was a fly over nearly a decade later, but the same feeling was evoked. However, it wasn’t until June of this year that I actually visited Lady Liberty in person. I was again awestruck.

August 3, 2016
NPS Centennial: Finding Peace in Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah-Theresa-1.jpgShenandoah National Park is a family favorite and we travel there often. My husband, Eric, and I love it so much that we got married in the park - right off Skyline Drive at Timber Hollow Outlook.  As you see in the photos, I got married in a gray wool suit. I am not very “girly” and it was late November.

August 1, 2016
NPS Centennial: Honeymoon Adventure in the Western National Parks

Western-NPS-Tour-Carter-1.jpg For our honeymoon, my wife, Michelle, and I went on a journey westward.  We started in Colorado and looped our way through Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Utah visiting friends, family, and National Parks along the way. It was truly an adventure, and a magnificent start to the real adventure that is the rest of our lives.

July 27, 2016
Valuable Advice for Incoming College Freshmen

freshmen-2.jpgEmbarking on a college career is an exciting, and often daunting, venture. Few folks forget the mixed emotions we felt as we prepared for our freshman year in higher education. As the new school year edges ever closer, we’ve reached out to our Mast Store associates for their best advice for incoming college freshmen. Our contributors attended universities, as well as technical and community colleges.  From college seniors, newer college graduates, and those who've completed their education a few years ago or many decades ago, we hope you or someone you love will benefit from their words of wisdom.

July 7, 2016
Grandma's Cures for Summer's Bumps & Bruises

grandma-approved-2.jpgWe all enjoy getting outside and taking advantage of the longer daylight hours in the summertime, but an abundance of outdoor activities often leads to the need to give our bodies a little extra TLC. Thankfully, grandma’s old timey cures have withstood the test of time. From soothing sunburns and softening “gardener’s hands” to helping heal cuts and repelling pesky mosquitoes, we offer a few of our favorite cures for summer bumps and bruises: grandma approved! And best yet, all of these cures are made in the USA.

June 21, 2016
Volunteering in the National Parks

nps-volunteer-5.jpgThroughout 2016, we’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park System by exploring the history of the parks, offering ideas about how to Find Your Park in the southeast, as well as tips to help you make the most of your park adventure.

June 14, 2016
The Mast Store Knife Shop Celebrates its Grand Opening at the Original Store

knife-shop-1.jpgThis Father’s Day weekend, we’re celebrating an exciting new addition at Mast General Store. The Knife Shop is re-energizing what was once a feed/potato-grading room in the Original Store. This upcoming weekend officially marks the Knife Shop Grand Opening in Valle Crucis, with three days of events that will surely delight the dads, as well as knife enthusiasts, in your life.

April 13, 2016
Southland in the Springtime

It’s been said that “there’s something about the southland in the springtime.” New baby goats are arriving weekly at the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site in Flat Rock, NC. A pair of house finches who crafted a tidy nest on my porch weeks ago are now awaiting the arrival of their 5 chicks. The cherry blossom tree in the front yard is heavy with pink blooms. Everywhere you look, new life is bursting forth as winter transitions into spring.  Our Mast Store communities are also celebrating the season with activities the whole family will enjoy. Below is an offering of a few of the many events we’re looking forward to enjoying this April.

March 9, 2016
Spring Birding Made Easy

birding-two-4.jpgSome folks consider birding the best scavenger hunt available to mankind.  Last year, we explored Backyard Birding Made Easy. This year, we’re going to apply those principles to birding in the great outdoors. In celebration of the National Parks System’s 100th year, we’ve included a few tips on where to seek out and how to successfully identify birds in the woods and along the trail in a National Park nearest you.

February 3, 2016
Find Your Park in North Carolina

nc-4.jpgFrom the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail in the mountains to the Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout on the coast, the National Parks in North Carolina are varied in landscape and diverse in beauty.

January 12, 2016
National Slow Cooking Month

slow-cooker-month-1.jpgJanuary is the perfect time of year to pull out your slow cooker (or Crock-Pot), throw in a combination of ingredients, and let them simmer all day to edible perfection. We’re sharing a few of our favorite mouth-watering, hearty, and super easy one-pot recipes for one of the coldest (and coziest!) months of the year.

January 6, 2016
Celebrating the National Park Service Centennial in 2016

nps-jan-1.jpgThe National Park Service (NPS) turns 100 on August 25, 2016, and everyone can take part in the celebration! Over the course of this year, we’re going to explore the importance of the NPS, the folks who helped create it, how to Find Your Park in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, as well as tips and apps that you can use to help make the most of your NPS experience. Please join us as we learn more about and experience first-hand the awesome gift that is, as NPS documentarian Ken Burns lauds it, “America’s Best Idea!”

December 29, 2015
Do-Able New Year's Resolutions

new-year-resolutions-5.jpgHow would you like for your life to look one year from today? Would it look different than it does now? Most folks enjoy positive change and a fresh start, but it can be difficult to implement those things without a plan. The New Year provides the perfect opportunity to resolve to start anew, and it doesn’t have to be joyless or a drudgery. We offer a few “do-able” ideas from a personal perspective to help you approach your 2016 resolutions.

December 22, 2015
Enjoying Winter Break with the Family

winter-break-3.jpgChildren are counting down the days until Christmas morning, but there’s another countdown happening in homes across the country. Winter break is fast approaching and that means no homework, staying up late, and sleeping in. This extra time together in the middle of the school year provides ample opportunity to turn off the television and dig into some fun family projects and activities. Here is a list of simple ideas you may want to incorporate into your holiday time together:

December 15, 2015
The Secret to Giving the Perfect Gift

perfect-gift-1.jpgLast week we explored “How to Select the Perfect Host Gift." This week we offer shopping tips for all the other wonderful people in your life… from your family member, who seems to already have one of everything, to that special someone, who sometimes leaves you stumped. We’ve checked in with our Mast Store gift-giving experts to help unravel the mystery of finding the perfect gift for just about anyone on your Christmas list.

December 9, 2015
How to Select the Perfect Host GIft

hostess-gifts-1.jpgIf you’re planning to attend a holiday party this Christmas season, you have the (sometimes daunting) task of selecting a gift your host is sure to enjoy. Here are a few suggestions that will help you choose a thoughtful gift. We also offer a variety of ideas we hope will bring a smile to your host’s face.

December 2, 2015
Christmas Cheer Then and Now in Winston-Salem

WINS-santa-3.jpgWhen Mast Store’s newest old location opened its doors in Winston-Salem this past May, we had the pleasure of meeting a woman with close ties to 516 North Trade Street. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Barbara Carter’s father worked in the building that boasted one of the largest retail and wholesale companies in the South: Brown-Rogers-Dixson (B-R-D). After her visit to our Mast Store grand opening in the very same building, Mrs. Carter wrote us saying, “It brought back fond childhood memories of my father and mother, both now deceased, bringing us to visit with Santa at the store.”

November 23, 2015
Mystery Dish Aids in Holiday Cooking

chicken-cooker.jpgThis item is a source of curiosity for quite a few folks exploring our home and hearth area of the store. A Mast Store associate shares, “I’m sure to get a great reaction when I show our guests this item and ask them to guess what it is.” Is it a chip and dip tray? Is it used to bake a Bundt or angel food cake?  The answer to these questions is, “Absolutely. But, there’s more!” This handy bowl performs a myriad of functions in the kitchen and just might be the key to helping make your holiday meal preparation a whole lot easier.

November 16, 2015
Try Nanny's Sour Cream Pie This Thanksgiving

janet-brite-2.jpgIf you’ve ever been to Mast Store Hendersonville or enjoyed reading the Fall Foliage Primer over the years, you’re probably familiar with the smiling face below. Janet retired from Mast Store a few years ago and was an invaluable part of our family for over 17 years. Her beautiful autumn photos and leaf gazing updates kept visitors to Western North Carolina abreast of the changing mountain colors in the Hendersonville area year after year.

October 15, 2015
Woolrich, Woven True, Then & Now

WR_BLANKETS_STACK_4938.jpgWoolrich has an incredible, storied history and has long been a favorite of Mast General Store. This heritage brand has been synonymous with quality outdoor clothing for over 185 years.  Fifty-three years before the Original Mast Store opened our doors in Valle Crucis, North Carolina, Woolrich's founder, John Rich, constructed his first woolen mill in Pennsylvania in 1830. The history that unfolded in tandem with the growth of Rich's woolen mill is an incredible story with deep American roots.

October 6, 2015
Fall Hike on the Rattlesnake Lodge Trail

rattlesnake-ruins-5.jpgWhile our thoughts are with our neighbors to the south who received the brunt of this past week’s storms, folks in the Blue Ridge Mountains are drying out and hitting the trails in search of brilliant fall colors.  Some leaves fell with the wind and rain, but the good news is that premature color change and bare trees appear to be a minor issue in Western North Carolina. If you find yourself in the Asheville area in the coming weeks, check out a local’s favorite along the Mountains-to-Sea trail just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

September 30, 2015
The Autumnal Rumpus is Upon Us

alaina-drawdy-cox-autumnal-1.jpgBeginning with a few random leaves on your lawn in early to mid-September, October cascades into a brilliant wash of color, flaming our hills and valleys with hues we can only dream of creating with a paintbrush. Enter Mother Nature, the master artist. Her palette of reds, golds, greens, and russets creates quite a spectacle, and the changing fall foliage never fails to delight us.

September 17, 2015
Planning Your Trip for a Spectacular Fall Leafing Season

alaina-drawdy-cox-fall-2015-a.jpg“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple,” J. K. Rowling once mused. Local fall foliage predictors are echoing the same sentiment.  Due to drier than usual spring and summer seasons, we're anticipating this year’s color to be more spectacular than we've experienced in many years. Your friends at Mast General Store and the Fall Foliage Primer hope to help you get the most out of your leafing tour this year.

September 10, 2015
Farm to Feet Socks

farm-to-feet-2.jpgWe’re proud to introduce our new favorite All-American product! Farm To Feet takes the statement “Made in the USA” seriously. From the Merino wool sheared from US-raised sheep to the packaging that helps tell the story, it's all made right here.

September 1, 2015
Creating a Tasty Tailgate Party

tailgating-2.jpgThink fall. Think football season. Think TAILGATE PARTY! Tailgating is among the most time-honored American sporting traditions and a delicious one at that. Folks from Mast General Store have gathered their favorite recipes to share with you. Our selection covers the perfect dishes for early to late games, appetizers, entrees, and desserts, too. Are you hungry yet? We sure are!

August 27, 2015
Stop By and See Us Along America's Favorite Drive

alaina-drawdy-cox-craggy-pinnacle.jpgLate Summer is a magnificent time of year to enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway. In fact, you could string together a trip through the mountains, soak in their beauty and rich history, and also find time to meander into your favorite Mast General Store at many stops along the Parkway.

August 20, 2015
Farmers' Market to Table

alaina-drawdy-cox-north-avl-farmers-market.jpg“By ten o'clock, the sidewalk along Vine Street looks like the Fourth of July parade. Mama minds the cash box while Daddy and Mitch go to haul more tomatoes and peppers from the truck. The basket of beans is almost empty, so I fill it up again,” reflects Paul Brett Johnson his children’s book “Farmers' Market.”

August 13, 2015
Every Step a Legacy

frye-4.jpgOver a century and a half ago, and twenty years before Mast General Store opened our doors in Western North Carolina, a storied American manufacturer was founded in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Two men contributed $150 each to the development of what has become the oldest continuously operated shoe company in the United States. This is the story of Frye boots.

August 6, 2015
Savoring the Last Days of Summer

sunflower-baby-alaina-drawdy-cox-1.jpgYou know the summer is coming to a close when the sunflowers start to droop in the heat of the noonday sun. Checking in with a large field of cheery sunflowers near the Mast Store World Wide Headquarters, it’s clear from the sleepy blooms that summer is ever so slowly fading. Before we get back into the swing of another school year, here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy the last days of summer.

August 2, 2015
Oh My Squash!

squash.jpgThe summer harvest season is in full swing! And if your garden is like ours, you have enough squash to feed everyone in the community. So, if your garden gives you squash, you make squash everything! 

July 31, 2015
Dream Green with Paddywax

paddywax-2.jpgHailing from Nashville, Tennessee, Paddywax has been crafting American-made, artisanal, and eco-friendly candles and soaps for nearly 20 years. They’ve dedicated themselves to creating something lovely for every home and their candles and soaps combine innovative scents and creative designs for every gift-giving occasion.

July 30, 2015
Salem Baking from Winston Salem, NC to Your Door

salem-2.jpgCoveted ingredients. Classic recipes. Crafted with care. These are the hallmarks of the Old World Moravian baking tradition, a celebration of pure and cherished flavors. Since 1930, Salem Baking Company has proudly carried on this tradition, because they believe using only the finest and essential ingredients is still the best way to convey the naturally vivid flavors in everything they bake.

July 28, 2015
QMT - Hand-Tuned Windchimes Made in Virginia

qmt-chimes-3.jpgQMT Windchimes originated in the Florida craft show circuit in the early 1980s. Mike Throne camped in the back of his van and traveled to craft shows selling different products, including wind chimes from a local producer. When his source for chimes dried up, Mike began to build his own handmade wind chimes, with an eye toward quality and continually improving his designs.

July 27, 2015
Burt's Bees - An American Journey from Maine to North Carolina

burts-bees-1.JPGIn the summer of 1984, Maine artist, Roxanne Quimby, was trying to thumb a ride home. Eventually, a bright yellow Datsun pickup truck pulled over, and Roxanne instantly recognized Burt Shavitz, a local fellow whose beard was almost as well-known as his roadside honey stand. Burt and Roxanne hit it off. Before long, Roxanne was making candles with unused wax from Burt's beehives. They made $200 at their first craft fair; within a year, they'd make $20,000. It was a pretty fantastic beginning - but it was just the beginning, all the same.

July 26, 2015
Darn Tough - Made in Vermont For Three Generations

darn-tough-1.jpgAt the Darn Tough mill, there's a sign that says, “Nobody ever outsourced anything for quality.” The Darn Tough folks share, "When you’re really serious about something you make it yourself. Our socks aren’t produced off shore or out-sourced within the US." And that's not all we love about these socks!

July 25, 2015
Colonel Littleton - Fine Goods from the Heart of Tennessee

colonel-littleton-3.jpg

How did Colonel Littleton get started? Here’s the story from the Colonel himself:

I don’t want to say by accident, but it was a little that way.

July 24, 2015
Ann Clark Cookie Cutters - Just Like Your Grandma Used

ann-clark-3.jpgAnn Clark started out with little more than a pig-shaped Christmas ornament and a dream. After years of painting and creating small gifts for her children to give away, she set up shop in her garage and turned a hobby into a business. Armed with a small amount of start-up cash and unbridled enthusiasm, Ann tackled her first trade show. She set up a booth at the Philadelphia Gift Show featuring six cookie cutter designs and several other hand-made crafts and came home with $3,500 in orders. Ann Clark, the person, became Ann Clark, Ltd., the company.

July 23, 2015
Tervis - America's Favorite Tumbler

tervis-1.jpgLet’s take a little trip back in time. It’s 1946. Detroit. Engineers Frank Cotter and G. Howlett Davis hit on something big: they harness the natural insulating powers of air to create a permanently sealed, double-walled tumbler. Finally, a way to keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. This outstanding innovation changed the drinkware industry forever.

July 21, 2015
Colonel Conk - Made in the USA for the Distinguished Gentleman

conk1.jpgUpon his return from the American Civil War, Colonel Ichabod Conk concocted fine grooming products for the discerning gentleman. He used and sold these items in the New Mexico barbershops he ran with his wife.

July 21, 2015
From the Science Lab to the Trail - Nalgene and the American Dream

nalgene-2.jpgBack in 1949, a Rochester, New York chemist named Emanuel Goldberg developed the first plastic pipette holder. He, along with three workers, began the Nalge Company in a small building at 625 South Goodman Street. For years, Goldberg and his growing team developed the Nalgene line of state-of-the-art polyethylene laboratory equipment: centrifuge bottles, filter units, storage tanks. Obviously, it wasn’t the kind of stuff you toss into your backpack for a weekend in the woods. But there were rumors floating around … stories about scientists taking the smaller, more convenient bottles out of the lab and using them on hikes and excursions.

July 20, 2015
Everyone Knows It's Slinky!

slinky-1.jpg“What walks down stairs, alone or in pairs
and makes a slinkity sound?
A spring, a spring, a marvelous thing!
Everyone knows it’s Slinky!”

July 20, 2015
Nordicware - American Kitchenware from Minneapolis, Minnesota

nordicware-2.jpgAn inspirational American success story, Nordic Ware was founded in 1946 by a determined wife, Dotty, and her resourceful husband Dave, newly back from the second world war. With only $500 in their pockets, a few good ideas and a desire to create a business of their own, a humble kitchenware company was launched from the basement of their home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the beginning, Nordic Ware’s product line started out with only a handful of items, all of which were specialty Scandinavian ethnic cookware products—the Rosette iron, Krumkake iron, Platte Panne pan, and the Ebelskiver pan. But times have changed!

July 19, 2015
Just Jump It This Summer

just-jump-it-toys-1.jpgDid you know that ten minutes of jumping rope is roughly the equivalent of running an eight-minute mile? Also, jumping rope for approximately 10 to 15 minutes is enough to burn off the calories from a candy bar? That’s great exercise!

July 18, 2015
J. R. Watkins - Hardworking Products from Minnesota

watkins-2.jpgWash and iron; cook and clean; repeat. Such was life for many women in 1868. But times were changing. Elizabeth Blackwell opened the first Women’s Medical College. Louisa May Alcott captured the period’s ideals and values in Little Women. And, hard-working wives and mothers with tired, aching muscles found relief in a new, all-natural liniment manufactured and sold by Joseph Ray Watkins.

July 17, 2015
Sweetness Made in Savannah

savannah-bee-1.jpgTed Dennard is the founder, president, and head beekeeper for Savannah Bee Company. An elderly beekeeper, Roy Hightower, sparked young Ted’s journey in the magical world of bees and honey, and it’s been 35 years of it ever since.

July 16, 2015
Smartwool - From the Colorado Rockies to You

smartwool-3.jpgThe SmartWool story started on a rugged Colorado ski slope with the belief that toes didn’t have to be cold. One simple pair of Merino socks challenged the conventional wisdom and forever changed the way outdoor enthusiasts looked at their feet. It’s not just about the Merino, though. It’s what Smartwool does with it that makes their product different. For over 20 years, they've been pushing the boundaries of Merino to create smarter, more capable products from head to toe.

July 15, 2015
Old Mill of Guilford Established in North Carolina in 1767

old-mill-of-guilford-2.jpgThe historic Old Mill of Guilford was founded in North Carolina on Beaver Creek (near Winston-Salem) in 1767 to grind grain for the early settlers of what is now Guilford County. Today, this fully-operational, water-powered grist mill continues to produce all-natural, stone-ground, whole grain foods, just as it has for nearly 250 years.

July 14, 2015
Pointer Brands - Over 100 Years of Style and Character from Bristol, Tennessee

pointer-brand-1.jpgThe legacy of Pointer Brands begins with L.C. King. At age 12, L.C. began working at for his uncle's general goods store and four years later, he joined his brother in the wholesale dry goods business. A salesman there for 25 years, L.C. decided to strike out on his own and develop a clothing line that reflected his love of the outdoors.

July 13, 2015
American Classic Tea Filling Cups for Three Generations

american-classic-tea-1-ruth-campbell.jpgSeventy years ago, Ruth Campbell Bigelow changed the way we drink tea in the United States. An avid tea connoisseur, Ruth thought tea drinkers, like herself, would enjoy a more zestfully flavored tea. Happening upon a special colonial recipe that called for tea to be blended with orange peel and spices, she decided to try to re-create what she felt sounded like a wonderful idea....

July 12, 2015
Lodge Cast Iron Cookware Made in Tennessee for Every Generation

lodge-3.jpgLodge Manufacturing is one of America's oldest cookware companies in continuous operation. Founded in 1896 by Joseph Lodge, it is still owned and managed by the descendants of the Lodge family. All of the company’s cast iron cookware is produced at the foundry in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. It has been which has been in operation since the company first opened.

July 11, 2015
Manual Woodworkers Pillows from the Mountains of Western North Carolina

manual-woodworkers-1.jpgManual Woodworkers is based in the mountains of Western North Carolina and calls Hendersonville home – which is also home to one of our Mast Stores. Since its beginnings in 1932, Manual Woodworkers has proven its ability to identify trends in the gift and decorative accessories industry and has been ranked #1 in Home Decor by Gift Beat Magazine. Three generations of this family-owned company operate with a commitment to providing quality, American-made products.

July 10, 2015
Spooner Creek from Milwaukee to You

spooner-1.jpgSpooner Creek is the artwork of Michael Macone expressed in clay. He has been making pottery for over 30 years, and his work is featured in collections around the world. Michael’s mother was an artist and encouraged his gift at an early age. She taught him to oil paint in 4th grade. He always kept busy with art and sold his first paintings to neighbors and family friends.

July 9, 2015
Cloud Star Dog Biscuits – Special Treats for Your All-American Pooch

cloud-star-1.jpgCloud Star’s story is a simple one; They started out in a home kitchen more than 15 years ago with a single goal: To make a tasty treat that Samantha, a sweet shepherd mix with a picky palate and some pesky food allergies, could eat and enjoy.

July 8, 2015
White Mountain Puzzles – A Family Tradition Made in Vermont

white-mountain-puzzle-1.jpgIn 1978, the same year that Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was founded in Vermont, two entrepreneurs in New Hampshire started a small poster company that evolved into White Mountain Puzzles.

July 7, 2015
A Rocker That's Just Right

troutman-1.jpgIf you had a chance to go back in time and listen to your grandma spin an amusing yarn about some local character while she snapped beans as she rocked on the front porch, you'd do it, right? With a Troutman Slat Rocker, you'll be well on the way to making your own treasured stories come alive again. These traditionally-crafted chairs are designed to be heirlooms, so your family folklore can be passed on from generation to generation.

July 5, 2015
Coastal Cotton – Born and Bred in South Alabama

coastal-cotton-1.JPGBorn and bred in South Alabama, Coastal Cotton is dedicated to providing premium quality products inspired by a classic uninhibited style. After college, Adam Pickron went to work with his parents as a textile engineer in their clothing factory, making everything from premium jeans to military uniforms. “It was there that I learned the trade of manufacturing clothing from raw fabric to finished goods,” says Adam.

July 4, 2015
Fiesta – American's Favorite Dinnerware

fiestaware-1.jpgFiesta was introduced by The Homer Laughlin China Company with great fanfare at the Pittsburgh China & Glass Show in 1936. It was an immediate hit with the public and, by its second year of production, more than one million pieces were produced.

July 3, 2015
Classic Toys with an Eco Twist

green-toys-1.jpgGreen Toys, made in California since 2007, offers an awesome line of classic children’s toys constructed from recycled plastic and other environmentally-friendly materials. This helps reduce fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improving the overall health and happiness of the planet. How cool is that?

July 2, 2015
Therm-a-Rest – Invented By Seattle Engineers

thermarest-1.jpgThe year was 1971. Seattle aerospace giant, Boeing, announced its largest layoff in company history, resulting in 50,000 people losing their jobs. So devastating was the impact on the local population, that a now infamous billboard near the SeaTac airport read, “Will the last person leaving Seattle, please turn out the lights?”

July 1, 2015
Case Brothers' Collectible Knives - the Pride of Pennsylvania

case-2.jpgW.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company is an American manufacturer of premium, handcrafted knives that are passed down for generations. Based in Bradford, Pennsylvania, Case’s offerings cover a wide range of product categories, from traditional folding pocket knives and fixed blade sporting knives to limited production commemoratives and collectibles.

June 29, 2015
MusicFest 'n Sugar Grove is July 10-11

MusicFest.pngA celebration of Appalachian music and cultural heritage, the Doc & Rosa Lee Watson MusicFest 'N Sugar Grove will take place July 10 and 11, 2015 on the grounds of the Historic Cove Creek High School in Sugar Grove, N.C.

June 25, 2015
Join the Great American Campout On June 27th

GAC.jpgChildhood summers are marked by memories of biking around town with a pack of friends, listening for the bell of the ice cream truck, staying outside well after the sun sinks in the sky, and catching fireflies in a Mason jar. With the dawn of the Information Age, many children are missing out on traditional summer fun and are glued to their electronic devices instead.  It’s time to boot our children outdoors, so they can benefit from fresh air, green grass, and the carefree joys of a summer spent in nature.

June 17, 2015
Honed in Norwegian Beauty and Practicality

helle-1.jpgWhen you think of Norway, blue fjords snaking among tall mountains, small fishing villages, and making first tracks in new fallen snow all come to mind. Out of this beauty, and the need to feed the family and make a living, came the tradition of Helle Knives.

June 10, 2015
Bear Wallow Books – Old-Fashioned Recipes for Modern Times

ice-cream-photo.jpegUniversity historian, J.S. Collister, found that her research repeatedly turned up recipes, which had been transported over land and sea, by caravan, clipper ship and covered wagon, over thousands of miles and nearly as many years. She discovered that sharing recipes was a long-treasured tradition, enjoyed by many cultures and many generations.

April 30, 2015
Fulton & Roark Solid Colognes – Made in Winston Salem, NC

fulton-roark-1.jpgWe’re so excited about the upcoming opening of our newest “old” location that we want to share one of our “Mast Favorites” that’s born and bred in Winston-Salem, NC. Fulton & Roark began with a series of solid colognes designed to integrate seamlessly into everyday life. F&R crafts high-quality grooming products specifically built for the way men operate. They believe superior products should make a man’s process of getting ready less complicated and more enjoyable.

April 24, 2015
It's Garden Season

GardenforWeb.jpgGardening is one of the first outdoor adventures of the season. It actually can start way back in January or February when the seed catalogs begin arriving in the mail. Flipping through the pages and dreaming of the summer and fall harvest while the wind and snow whip outside is a favorite winter activity.

April 23, 2015
Crafting for the 21st Century

crafting.jpgIt used to be roots and herbs and crops and chickens that folks brought to the Mast General Store in historic Valle Crucis for trade. Today, the items "traded" are more along the lines of baskets, birdhouses, bread, homemade butter, and hand-turned bowls. Although the products may have changed, the intent is still the same - the Mast Store provides a marketplace for local and regional residents and artists to present the fruits of their efforts.

April 15, 2015
Klean Kanteen "Bring Your Own" for Earth Day

klean4.jpgWith Earth Day coming up on Wednesday, April 22nd, we are thinking about changes we can make in our everyday lives that will lessen our impact on the environment. Many Mast associates carpool, bike or walk to work… Not only because it’s fun to socialize with co-workers each morning in the car or exercise while we commute, but also because it decreases our carbon footprint. But what if “creative commuting” isn’t an option?  What other small, new shifts in our daily habits can make a big difference in the long-term health of our planet? Klean Kanteen has some ideas they share with their Bring Your Own project. They are inspiring us in a big way.

April 8, 2015
Tilley Hats: A Friend for a Lifetime

040715-tilley-hat-4.jpgAlex Tilley, the founder of Tilley Hats, became frustrated when he couldn’t find a good sailing hat. He decided to oversee the making of some proper hats for himself and other Toronto sailors. He wanted the hat to float, stay on, not to shrink, last indefinitely, and look good. He didn’t realize that such a thing was considered impossible.

March 12, 2015
Keeping Good Company with Toad&Co

0315-toad-and-co-5.jpgIf you were to conduct a blind touch test of clothing fabrics in the Outdoor Department at Mast General Store, you may find one brand’s “hand feel” to be exceptionally soft. These super soft clothes made from nearly 100% organic cotton, with recycled polyester, and using environment-friendly dyes are the hallmark of our new line, Toad&Co.

March 4, 2015
Remembering the Valle with Blanche Hodges Kohnle - Part Two

0315-alaina-drawdy-cox-valle-crucis.jpgReflecting on her own childhood, Blanche describes her dad, Clingman Hodges, as “the greatest musician”. He mastered the banjo, mandolin, and auto harp . Each morning, he’d awaken the children for school and their mother’s fresh made biscuit breakfast by picking a cheerful tune on the banjo.

February 24, 2015
Remembering the Valle with Blanche Hodges Kohnle - Part One

blanche-kohnle.jpgLast year, a beautiful, petite, and cheerful 96-year-old woman and her son stopped by the Mast Store in Asheville and visited with us for a while. Many Mast guests with rich histories and even richer stories pass through our doors every day, but this guest was particularly special because she holds the keys to the history of our beloved Valle. Valle Crucis – the birthplace of Mast General Store.

February 16, 2015
Easy Photography Tips for Winter Landscapes

winter-photography-2.jpgLong-range views, snowy scenes, and gorgeous sunsets: Winter provides ample opportunity to capture beautiful photos and you don’t have to be an expert photographer or own a lot of expensive equipment to get the perfect shot. This week our Mast Store Photo Stylist, Heather, shares some helpful tips for shooting winter landscapes with your point-and-shoot camera or your cell phone too.

February 6, 2015
Nine Essential Winter Hiking Tips

Hiking in winter poses challenges that are very different from hitting the trail all other seasons of the year. Shortened daylight, lower temperatures, and quickly changing conditions may present obstacles, but they are all easy to safely navigate with proper planning. We sat down this week with Dan, one of our resident “hiking experts” at the Mast Store Asheville, for some valuable tips you’ll want to use as you plan your outdoor adventure in the coldest season of the year.

January 28, 2015
Exploring the Mountains in Winter

Winter is gradually making its grand appearance with sinking temperatures and driving snow. After the wintry mix is plowed and the wind abates, it’s time to head outside for some wintertime exploration. The detail, clarity, and focus across multiple mountain ranges are most spectacular in the deep of winter. Closer views are just as thrilling because the bare trees reveal details on the landscape that are easy to miss when blocked by rich foliage.

January 12, 2015
The Holidays Revisited

0115-mast-holiday-4.jpgFor my family, the holiday season isn’t complete without a reading of Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas In Wales”. Everyone’s favorite ornament on the tree is a wide-mouthed Santa who, when you squeeze his cheeks, offers a chocolate kiss. And each stocking gets a beautiful, large navel orange in the bottom of the toe, just like my Swedish cousins have done for generations.

December 30, 2014
Cooking for the New Year

Collard GreensHere we are about to put another year in the books. How can 365 days pass by so quickly? With the New Year just hours away, it's time to begin preparing to greet the New Year in a traditional way in order to have a full year of good luck. 

December 23, 2014
Accidental Christmas Traditions

Tree at WorkThe holidays are here with all of their pomp and circumstance, parties and decorations, traditions and food. Many of the celebrations around the holidays have their roots in ancient Christian beliefs and pagan festivals. But there are some that are, well, accidental

December 18, 2014
Good to Eat and Easy to Fix

Grit-Casserole-1000px.jpgWell, the holidays are upon us. Everyone's calendars are full of parties, get togethers, and covered dish gatherings. The schedule for family visits is lengthy and covers most of the time between Christmas Eve and Christmas Night. With so many places to go and people to see, it's often not practical to prepare a full meal for your guests. That's where a smattering of hearty appetizers and sweet treats will help tide them over to their next stop.

December 8, 2014
A Gift to Enjoy the Outdoors

ChristmasTentIt is often a challenge to find just the right gift for everyone on your list, particularly if you are trying to find something for the outdoor enthusiast. Just a few questions that can be asked in casual conversation can help steer you to a thoughtful and useful gift that will serve him or her for years to come.

November 26, 2014
Bringing the Family Together for the Holidays

Family Fun NightThe holidays can be the most stressful time of the year. All of us create imagined expectations that are often unrealistic, that we push ourselves to achieve, when what we need to do is take a deep breath and relax. When family comes over, are they really coming to critique your housekeeping or to have an enjoyable meal filled with lots of laughter? While we'll agree that everyone wants to keep a perfect house, but for most of us, it's not practical, so hide the clutter in the extra bedroom (we guarantee that it'll be there later), do a quickie vacuum and dust job, and clean the bathrooms.

October 23, 2014
Safely Scrub-A-Dub-Dub with American Made SallyeAnder Soaps

sallyeander-1.jpgThe SallyeAnder Soaps story started 30 years ago when the creators’ infant son couldn’t tolerate the bath products on the market. Everything the couple tried irritated his skin, and so the Minetto, NY natives decided to make their own gentle and natural soap for their son. The results were spectacular for them, as well as many other families, and the soap rapidly gained in popularity. A few years later, the couple quit their day jobs, and started SallyeAnder Soaps, selling their American-made, all-natural soaps across the globe.

October 6, 2014
Smart Travelers Get a Head Start on Fall Weekends in the Mountains

DSC03420.jpgGardens are bearing the last of their summer gifts. Children awaken early for hours filled with learning. The length of sunlight shortens with each passing day. Some mornings there’s a familiar crisp scent in the air reminding us that fall is fast approaching. Knowing this beloved season is quickly come and gone, it’s never too early to plan your autumn excursion to the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains.

September 26, 2014
Putting Your Garden to Bed

Iris_Gift_Nature.jpgA good cleanup in the fall is well worth your while for a healthy, vital garden next spring. Get started by pulling up vegetable plants such as tomatoes, squashes, peas, and beans. Compost the disease-free ones; put sickly or blighted ones on the burn pile or discard away from the garden. Pull up and put away garden stakes and tomato cages. Don’t forget to clean up dead or declining annuals... and remember marigolds, calendulas and zinnias are easy to grow next year, from the seeds you save.

September 15, 2014
Making the Most of Apple Season

apple-1.jpgApple picking season is one of the sweetest times of year and we’re fortunate to live in an area that offers quite a few “pick your own” fruit farms and orchards. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of Apple Season – from fun-filled orchard exploration to preparing fall flavored treats at home.

September 1, 2014
Canning Your Summer Harvest

DSC03937.JPGWith a national trend toward “back-to-the-land” homesteading, many Americans are growing their own food in their backyards. But what to do with this ample harvest when more food is grown than can be eaten in a single season?  When you run out of neighbors to give it to, canning your extra homegrown produce is the perfect way to enjoy your garden’s bounty all year long.

August 22, 2014
Neighbors Helping Neighbors

whupabug.jpgWaynesville resident, Carl Hughes, is not the kind of fellow who backs down from a serious challenge. As a construction supervisor for Chevron in Angola, Carl was familiar with malaria symptoms, having suffered through it eight times during his many trips abroad. But when his co-worker’s daughter died from the vicious mosquito-borne disease, he was dumbstruck. During a one-month break at home, he resolved to create an insect repellant which would stop the spread of malaria. His research and experimentation led to the creation of Whup-a-Bug.

August 8, 2014
Ask Francine - Low Fat Sweet Potato Pie?

SweetPotatoPieWould you think it's possible to make a good fried sweet potato pie at home that is not loaded with saturated fat?

August 7, 2014
MoonPies and the South

moon-pie-3.jpgThere’s a group of local gentlemen, some retired farmers, who have gathered at the potbellied stove of the Original Store every day for the thirty-plus years since the Cooper family reopened the Store. Known as “The Lunch Bunch”, these men talk about the weather, the state of this season’s crops, and to share the same lunch they’ve been enjoying together for over three decades. The essential items of their daily feast: a hunk of bologna cut off the round and a MoonPie for dessert… all washed down with an ice-cold RC Cola from the old fire-engine red Coca-Cola cooler.

July 25, 2014
Made in North Carolina - From Dirt to Shirt

mast-private-label-4.jpgBrowsing through our clothes over the past couple of years, you’ve probably run across a new label that reads “Mast Store Private Label Shirts”. With the help of the fine folks at TS Designs, we’ve been able to create a unique line that is made in North Carolina - from dirt to shirt.

July 11, 2014
An All-American Partnership

nester-2.jpgMt. Airy sock manufacturer, Nester Hosiery, and Mast General Store have led parallel lives since our companies began collaborating in the early 1990s. As family-owned, environmentally-responsible companies that go the extra mile to provide quality products for their communities and beyond, both Mast and Nester are proud of their American roots.

July 3, 2014
A Bounty of Summer Flavor

summer-bounty-1.jpgWhen the mercury rises, nothing’s better than fresh summer produce. A couple of great dishes and a cool breeze make a hot, lazy day just about perfect. Grilling makes mealtime a summer event. Expand your repertoire by grilling veggies like corn on the cob, zucchini, or create a shish kebab. Rubs and marinades are just as tasty on veggies as on your burger!

June 26, 2014
Packing Light for Summer Travel

travel-light-1.jpgWhether you’re flying with your family on a big trip across the country or going on a quick weekend road trip to the beach, smart travelers like to pack light. Not only does it make packing easier, but it makes finding what you need when you reach your destination easy, too.

June 13, 2014
Summer Road Trip With the Furry Children

furry-friend-travel-2.jpgTaking the family for a summer road trip oftentimes includes the furry children. Kennels and pet sitters are costly and no one wants to leave the four-legged family members out of the fun. Your friends at Mast General Store are here to offer some tips that will help make your summer adventure a safe and enjoyable one for the furriest members of your family.

June 6, 2014
National Geographic Explorer and Best-selling Author Visits Boone Mast Store

helen-1.jpgThe Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, Mast General Store and Cordura are proud to host National Geographic Explorer and best-selling author Helen Thayer for a free presentation on Wednesday, May 14 in the lecture hall at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Downtown Boone. The presentation, “Polar Dream,” begins at 6:30 p.m. A meet and greet reception with light refreshments will be held immediately following the presentation. 

May 22, 2014
What Mast Means to You

gentsThis past June, one of our new Facebook friends asked us an excellent question. We posed her question to our 25,000 “friends on the internet” and were mightily touched by their answers. This blog captures what happened. 

May 15, 2014
Old-Fashioned Summer Games to Share with Your Children

sock-monkey-sunning.jpgDo you remember those lazy, endless summer days of childhood? A whole afternoon was spent skipping rocks in the creek. You’d lie in the grass, pull a blade, and fashion a horn by pressing your thumbs tightly together. Chalk drawn hopscotch boards colored neighborhood sidewalks in green, pink, and blue.

May 10, 2014
Mast Founders Featured in "Capital At Play" Magazine

capital-5.jpgWhen a 31-year-old John Cooper first laid eyes on the Mast General Store back in 1976, he had a vision for his family’s future that involved going back into the past. “I fell in love with the store as soon as I stepped inside,” says Cooper, who had traveled from his home in Florida with a friend to scout out potential real estate. “They literally had to carry me out.”

April 30, 2014
Mast General Store Places 4th in 100 North Carolina Icons List

mast-in-summer.jpgThis summer, Our State Magazine published the definitive to-do list of 100 North Carolina Icons. Our State queried writers, readers, photographers, and Facebook friends to share “what makes North Carolina a state unlike any other.” We are thrilled that Mast General Store is ranked as the 4th icon on the list!

March 27, 2014
"Southeast Discovery" and the Southern Way of Life

original-store-old-fashioned-goods.jpgIn March of 2012, Southeast Discovery, "The Retirement and Second Home Blog", wrote an article exploring the richness of Mast General Store - our history, values, people, and the things we care about. Here's a snippet of their post. Click through at the bottom to read more.

March 14, 2014
Backyard Birding Made Easy

backyard birding 1Bird watching is full of surprises. Did you realize that chickadees are as fond of peanut butter as your four-year-old… and as prone to squabbling over it as toddlers are? Have you ever watched a cardinal feed a choice seed to his mate?  Listened to the joyous song of a sparrow after a rainstorm?